With only one win in the last seven matches (and a Coppa defeat against Udinese), and with just one point so far in January, Inter Milan's future is looking a lot different than after the first few rounds. Then, Inter was considered one of the candidates for the title; now, Walter Mazzarri's team is far away from the third place and Champions League. A win against Genoa is a must for the nerazzurri, but it's not an easy task. Genoa are undefeated at home over the past three months, and given Inter's poor form, can we actually say that Inter is the favorite here?
Since the arrival of Gian Piero Gasperini, appointed whe Fabio Liverani was sacked after that last home defeat, against Napoli, Genoa have looked like a new side. Gasperini spent time in charge of Inter, and although he didn't last long, he will certainly want to prove himself against the black and blue giants from Milan.
The Genoa manager will need to make a few adjustments to the side for the Inter match. Mattia Perin, one of the most talented young goalkeepers in Italy, is injured, so Albano Bizzarri will be between the sticks for this game.Juraj Kucka and Alessandro Gamberini are also out with injuries, while Matuzalem is suspended. The good news is that the club's top goalscorer, Alberto Gilardino, is back after a one-match suspension, and that Luca Antonini's injury isn't serious. Daniele Portanova's condition has improved, but he may be on the bench.
Gasperini was known for his attacking 3-4-3 formation, a tactic that allows his teams to score frequently, but also makes them susceptible to conceding. He's become a little more conservative, however, and Genoa haven't often let more than two goals slip through. But with the amount of shots the opposition take on goal, it was only a matter of time before the rossoblu lost heavily - exactly what happened last week, when they fell 4-0 to Roma.
Gasperini may alter his approach slightly after last week's defeat, but it is Walter Mazzarri that must make real changes, in order to shake up his Inter side. But will he? Mazzarri isn't really known for mixing things up. Inter will use the same 3-5-1-1 formation they've been using the whole season, with the nerazzurri looking for goals on the break. Their counterattacks haven't been very effective lately, but it's highly unlikely Mazzarri will give up on his trusted tactic.
In fact, the only change Mazzarri is likely to make is that he may use the recently returned Diego Milito up top, with Rodrigo Palacio behind him. Other than that, Mazzarri seems to have full trust in the players and formation he uses regularly. It's not entirely Mazzarri's fault: when it comes to the attack, Inter lack choice. Apart from Milito and Palacio, there's just young Argentine Ruben Botta. Ishak Belfodil is about to leave the club and Mauro Icardi still recovering from injury. Obviously, Inter have some investing to do in this transfer market.
Genoa injuries and suspensions
Mattia Perin, Alessandro Gamberini, Juraj Kucka (injured); Matuzalem (suspended); Mario Santana, Daniele Portanova (in doubt)
Inter injuries and suspensions
Projected line ups
Sunday, January 19 at 3 p.m. local; 9 a.m. ET.
Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy
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